Isn't it about time Starbucks gave you something back? How about some valuable compost, for free? Yeah, you guessed it, Starbucks, Satellite and most other coffee houses are easily persuaded to save their used coffee grounds for you. Sure, you should already be saving your own grounds but coffee houses produce enough to give your compost heap a real kick start. Call or stop in to your favorite java joint in the morning and ask if they'll save that day's grounds for you. Keep in mind that you'll probably have the best luck at the bean juice bar you frequent most. They may ask you to bring in a clean bucket or they may package the goods up in a plastic bag. You'd be surprised how much can accumulate in a day. Is it too soon to be thinking about compost? Naw. We've got about a month to go before the average last frost but with some days as warm as they've been it's not definitely not unreasonable to start working on your soil. This is the perfect time to buy a new composter or stake out a corner of the yard for a heap. Coffee grounds are high in valuable nitrogen but they're also quite acidic. To maintain balance, combine coffee grounds with crushed egg shells and vegetable trimmings from the kitchen. Work the grounds into the soil or add them directly to your compost heap.
All the News That's Fit to Eat
Planning on dinner and a movie? Go to Café Voila and the movie's on them! This charming French restaurant in the shadow of the Marriott Pyramid has partnered with Madstone Theaters to give patrons two clever ways to save money on their dates. Option Number One: If you order full-priced dinner entrées, Café Voila will give you each a free movie ticket. Option Number Two: Bring your ticket stub from a Madstone matinee to Voila that same evening and they'll take the cost of your ticket (usually $5.50) off of your dinner entrée's price. I think it's a brilliant marketing idea for them and a screamin' deal for us. For full details call Café Voila (821-2666) or Madstone Theaters (6311 San Mateo NE, 872-4000).
Know Your Ingredients
Peanut Butter Basics
What is that layer of oil on top, anyway?
My mom always used to buy that "natural" peanut butter that came with a thick layer of oil floating on top of the extra-coarse puréed nuts. I begged for Jiff but having already accepted the seven-grain bread and homemade quince jelly that were to make up the other parts of my PBJ equation I was screwed and I knew it. Now I'm a grownup and I can pick any peanut butter I want. But which one? Why does so-called natural peanut butter have that layer of oil on top? And what makes it different from Skippy?
Chewing the Fat
The Blue Dragon's Higher Grounds
Chef Kent Dagnall talks about salvation through vegan chocolate chip cookies
Big changes are afoot at the Blue Dragon, the little neighborhood hangout that straddles Girard's jog just south of Indian School. With a fresh coat of paint and some new menu concepts headed by Chef Kent Dagnall, the Dragon is gearing up for spring and their fifth birthday on Mother's Day. I recently dropped in on Kent, a long-time pal and culinary co-conspirator, to pump him for information and split one of their signature pizzas.